When the coronavirus outbreak starting closing down its retail stores around North America, Gap, Inc., decided to put its services to use elsewhere. Instead of focusing on the downside of the temporary halt to business, officials at the California-based clothing manufacturer and retailer shifted to helping healthcare workers in dire need of supplies.
On March 24, the massive company, which includes clothing lines Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy, shared an announcement on Twitter about its efforts to start producing personal protective equipment for health workers in hospitals, clinics and testing sites across North America.
An update on our #COVID19 response: Our teams are connecting some of the largest hospital networks in Calif. w/ our vendors to deliver PPE supplies while we pivot resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns & scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines.
— Gap Inc. (@GapInc) March 25, 2020
Gap’s announcement is the latest in a line of corporations repurposing their manufacturing and distribution efforts or offering up financial resources to help alleviate the burden on healthcare workers.
Another major example is Nike, which is working on a prototype of face shields to help keep doctors and nurses protected from COVID-19.
“Companies like Nike need to do our part,” said Nike CEO John Donahoe. “Based on needs identified by the teams and health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University, our teammates are working right now about how to best help, including prototyping face shields of OHSU and others.”
Hanes Brands, best known for making t-shirts and underwear, recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a face mask design that can be used when N95 respirator masks are not required or available to use, according to NBC’s “Today.”
“The company expects to ramp up to production of 1.5 million masks weekly, and the consortium as whole is expected to ramp up to production of 5 million to 6 million masks weekly using Hanes Brands’ design and patterns,” said Haines Brand spokesperson Matt Hall in an email to “Today.”
Bedding company Bedgear, based in New York, is now manufacturing N95 respirators, surgical face mask and scrubs for doctors and nurses to wear. The company is also donating pillows to hospital staffers to help them get some well-deserved rest.
The company’s effort comes as its CEO, Eugene Alletto, faces his own family health crisis due to the coronavirus.
“Having a brother and a sister battling the coronavirus on the front lines at Long Island hospitals struck a nerve,” Alletto told Furniture Today. “I learned firsthand about the mask shortage and how hospital staffers are sleeping in shifts without basic sleep necessities like pillows. And, of course, I was deeply concerned for my siblings’ own health and well-being.”
Luxury group Louis Vuitton Möet Hennesey (LVMH) has two projects in the works to help combat supply shortages. First, the company retooled its perfumes and cosmetics production lines to make a disinfectant gel to be freely distributed across France. Most recently, LVMH announced it has financed a massive face mask purchase that will ultimately lead to up to 40 million of them arriving into its home country within the next four weeks.